Cork-based group for parents bereaved by death of baby

A NEW organisation for parents bereaved by the death of a baby, either during or soon after pregnancy, is to hold its first support meeting later this month.

Féileacáin (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland) is a newly formed national and not-for-profit group based in Cork which hopes to help anyone affected by such a loss.

“We were formed when a group of seven bereaved parents, five from Cork, befriended each other and came together to offer our support and experience to others who unfortunately would need our help,” says chairperson Helen Hayes.

The idea for establishing Féileacáin came about last year, she says. Back then the group, one member of which is from Galway and another from Kerry, organised a Service of Remembrance in St Anne’s church in Shandon in December.

“Out of that we decided to form a charity so that we could continue to put on services of remembrance and try to help parents and family members through their journey of grief. Most of our members are in Cork, but we do have people in Galway and Kerry and we will try to help parents nationwide,” she added.

Féileacáin aims to do everything from holding regular support meetings to offering telephone support, a befriending service and a place for parents to remember their babies, promote research into the causes of stillbirth and neonatal death and the effects of grief on the family.

It also wants to work closely with maternity hospitals and get involved in the provision of memory boxes for affected families.

“We are currently providing some of the maternity hospitals with memory boxes so that parents can remember their babies. Included in each memory box is a beautiful hand-knitted blanket.

“We needed people to knit these blankets for us and that gave rise to what has become the Cocooned project. When we advertised for people to knit these blankets we couldn’t believe the response that we got.

“Some of these people are now pensioners, but had been bereaved by peri-natal death in the past, and loved the idea of doing something to help others who are suffering the same grief many years later. We are currently looking for wool companies to donate some wool to us, or for companies to sponsor the wool for these beautiful blankets.”

On September 14, Féileacáin is holding its first support group for those affected by a baby’s death at 7.30pm in the Rochestown Park Hotel.

- For further information telephone 085 2496464, visit www.feileacain.ie or email infor@feileacain.ie


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